This one pot vegetable stew with lentils is healthy, hearty and takes less than 30 minutes to make. Great as a quick weeknight dinner.
For anyone who struggles with weekly meal prep or just figuring out what to cook for dinner, this easy vegetable stew is for you!
It is exactly as it sounds: easy, hearty and healthy.
Hearty because it's full of protein-rich red lentils and potatoes to keep you full.
And Healthy, because this vegan stew is totally packed with nutritious winter vegetables such as leafy greens, carrots and onions.
This simple vegetable stew recipe has been in my family for years, and I loved its comforting warmth even as a child.
This is the stew I make on an almost weekly basis (it's that good), so I hope you love it too! Stay warm, friends.
Why you'll love this stew
One pot - You only have to wash up one pan, making it a good option for a weeknight dinner.
High protein - Red lentils make this a hearty veggie stew as it's full of protein (as well as iron and other nutrients), keeping you full for longer.
Healthy - All those nutrient-rich fresh vegetables means it's a great way to get your vitamins in.
Easy - There's not much that can go wrong with this easy vegetable stew recipe, so it's a great one to start with if you're a new vegan!
Perfect meal prep - This stew is great the next day! You can spoon some into a container and take it to work for lunch (it heats well in a microwave).
Ingredients & substitutions
Onion & celery - Provide a flavour base to this hearty stew. Celery can be switched for leek if you're avoiding it.
Potatoes - Yellow or red potatoes make the stew extra filling. You could also sub these for other hearty vegetables such as sweet potatoes or squash.
Carrots & mushrooms - Provide extra nutrients and flavour. If not a fan, they can be subbed for other favorite vegetables like zucchini, green beans, parsnips or green peas.
Stock cube - I like these vegetable stock cubes as they add a strong flavour. If you'd rather use vegetable broth, switch 2 cups of the water the recipe asks for to 2 cups broth.
Dried herbs - I love sage and rosemary as they're such savoury winter herbs, but you can use your favourite. Fresh thyme and bay leaves are really nice in this stew.
Red lentils - I use dried red lentils as they're cheap and readily available. If you'd rather use canned lentils, add them in with the broccoli instead, as they don't need to cook long.
Broccoli & leafy greens - Get your vitamins in! These both provide vitamin c, iron and a whole host of other nutrients.
How to make
In a large pot or dutch oven, steam sauté onion in a small amount of water for 5 minutes on medium heat. (If it begins to stick, just add a bit more water.)
Add celery, potatoes, carrot, mushrooms if using, sage, rosemary and lentils to pan. Crumble over stock cube, add approx. 4 cups water (water will reduce as lentils soak it up) and bring pan to boil.
Reduce to low heat and simmer - covered - for 10 minutes, stirring now and then. Potato should be just tender.
Add broccoli and cook for a further 8-10 minutes (or until lentils have become mush), stirring occasionally.
Add Bragg's/soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste, and leafy greens if using. Cook until greens have wilted.
Serve in large bowls, optionally garnished with fresh herbs. You can serve with bread or rice for an even heartier meal.
See how to make this vegetarian stew recipe step-by-step.
You can't easily mess this recipe up, but here are a couple of tips to make things easier:
Don't worry about chopping veggies into perfect sizes. The beauty of this stew is that you can have slightly different sized veggies and it will still turn out great!
A little goes a long way with dried herbs! Don't be tempted to add more than the recipe says without tasting first - rosemary in particular can easily overwhelm it.
Store any leftover stew in an airtight container in the fridge, and consume within 4 days.
Reheat in a pan on the stove, or in the microwave. Be sure to heat through.
What to serve with this vegetarian stew
You don't need to serve this healthy stew with a side dish as it's a complete meal.
But if you want it to be extra hearty and filling, I recommend serving it with one of the following:
- Crusty bread
The secret to good stew is adding plenty of umami-rich ingredients for the less flavorful components to soak up (such as rich broth, soy sauce, vegan worcestershire sauce, red wine and tomato paste), and letting it simmer so the flavors can develop.
Soy sauce, vegetable stock and dried herbs are what give this vegan stew an umami flavor. In addition, vegetables like onion, celery and carrot add their own rich flavours to the stew.
Flavorful vegetables such as onions, celery and leeks, or root vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes and parsnips are some of the best for stew. A combination of several gives any stew great flavour and texture.
More quick soups and curries
You might also be interested in my 20 Minute Vegan Dinners eBook, containing 10 easy, fast weeknight dinner recipes.
Easy Vegetable Stew with Lentils (Vegan)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 large stick of celery, diced
- 2 medium potatoes, chopped into 1-inch cubes (about 3 heaped cups)
- 2 large carrots, sliced into rounds
- 10 small brown button mushrooms, halved (optional)
- ½ tablespoon ground dried sage
- ½ tablespoon ground dried rosemary
- 1 vegetable stock cube (or vegetable broth - see below)
- 1 cup uncooked red lentils (soaked for 2 hours if preferred)
- 2 tightly packed cups broccoli, cut into small florets
- ½ tablespoon Bragg's soy seasoning, or soy sauce (gluten free if needed)
- 1 packed cup dark leafy greens, like collards or spinach, thinly sliced (optional)
- Salt & black pepper to taste
- In a large pot, steam sauté onion in a small amount of water for 5 minutes on medium high heat. (If it begins to stick, just add a bit more water.)
- Add celery, potatoes, carrot, mushrooms if using, sage, rosemary and lentils to pan. Crumble over stock cube, add approx. 4 cups water (water will reduce as lentils soak it up) and bring pan to boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer - covered - for 10 minutes, stirring now and then. Potato should be just tender.
- Add broccoli and cook for a further 8-10 minutes (or until lentils have become mush), stirring occasionally.
- Add Bragg's/soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste, and leafy greens if using. Cook until greens have wilted.
- Serve in large bowls, optionally garnished with fresh parsley. Serve with bread or rice for an even heartier meal.
Nutrition per serving
If you’ve tried this easy veg stew recipe, please leave a comment or tip for others below. I'd love to know how you’ve made it your own!